Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to develop energy from mineral resources to ensure Zimbabwe becomes a net exporter of electricity and fuel by 2030.
The plan entails a number of projects that include the extraction of coal bed methane for power generation, production of liquid fuel from coal and generation of electricity from coal and development of oil and gas from various concessions.
This was said by Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu while briefing journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
“Cabinet considered and approved the programme for the Development of Energy from Mineral Resources, which was presented by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development (Winston Chitando). The programme’s major objective is to ensure that Zimbabwe emerges as a net exporter of electricity by 2024 and of fuel by 2030,” he said.
“This will principally be achieved through the extraction of coal-bed methane for power generation; production of liquid fuel from coal; generation of electricity from coal; and the development of oil and gas potential in the Muzarabani, Gonarezhou and Manicaland areas.
“To facilitate attainment of the programme, some measures will be instituted to, among other things, provide for the separation of the ownership of coal and CBM extraction concessions, as well as incorporation of specific tertiary education programmes that promote the development of the energy sector. A Commission shall be set up to oversee the formulation of the Programme for the Development of Energy from Mineral Resources.”
Responding to questions from journalists, Minister Chitando said the target of realising electricity self-sufficiency by 2024 would be achieved through collaboration with mining companies.
“When we look at electricity self-sufficiency by 2024 it is a combination of firstly thermal, solar and coal bed methane. With respect to solar the mining companies on their own right now as we talk they have solar projects which will generate 600MW notably the largest being Karo Resources, we do have some to add up to 300MW, I can safely say by 2021 mining companies will be producing 600MW.
“If you take our total power consumption of 1 900 MW we will have 30 percent coming from solar. Over and above that, it entails a huge increase in coke production and for you to access coke in terms of genealogy you need coking coal that entails generation of thermal coal.
“In terms of power from CBM we will have at least have 100MW however we have other two CBM projects. With respect to liquids from coal there are three concessions where work is advanced, in Binga which is going to be bankable we have another in the Gwayi area,” said Minister Chitando.
He said all that will give the country billions of litres of fuel annually for the country.
Once the plan succeeds, the country will heave a huge sign of relief as it is presently contending with a serious electricity and fuel shortage.